Upon arriving at Heathrow from LAX, we would have two hours to transfer to an Air Berlin flight to Frankfurt. If we only have carry on luggage, is two hours enough time assuming our flight is on time into Heathrow?
Hello Denise, Having transferred through Heathrow twice in the last 5 months I would say "maybe". Security at Heathrow is ridiculous - you have to go through customs and security for connecting flights. My advice is to check your luggage through and carry on as little as possible - which is what my husband and I did and my husband was still randomly selected for a thorough bag check. Fortunately his bag was the size of a small backpack and only contained his ipad, paperwork, passports and kleenex. If he'd had his carry on suitcase, I am not sure we would have made the flight. Given his bag was small with few items in it, we did make our flight. The prior flight we were literally running for our plane because we both had our carry on luggage and I was the lucky recipient of a thorough bag check. Heathrow is not equipped for this and their security staff is indifferent to the fact that those going through security have timetables to meet.
Are you traveling on a single ticket or on two separate tickets?
For most connections with carry-on luggage you do not have to go through "customs" ( immigration). You stay "airside" even if you have to transfer between terminals. You do have to go through security again, however. Check what terminals are your arrival and departure points, and then use the Heathrow website to follow the " flight connections" and see what is a legal connect time. In most cases it is 90 minutes. But assuming your flight from LA will be onetime may be risky.
Have you considered making your one connection in North America and flying directly into Frankfort? Many flights to Frankfort are United flights stopping @ Toronto or LAX. I'd rather make a quick connection over here than at Heathrow. Or, you could fly directly from LAX into Frankfort.
Laura asks an important question. If you are flying on one ticket and the flight is delayed, the airline will assist you in getting to your destination. If you have purchased 2 tickets (got a cheap flight to London and are now using a budget airline to get to Frankfurt) and your flight is delayed, you will be out the ticket on the second flight and left scrambling for another option. If you are are doing the latter, a 2 hour layover is a much bigger gamble than if you are doing the former. I flew over on American once and then caught a British Midlands flight to Ireland (booked as 2 tickets) I allowed a 5 hour layover. Everything went smoothly and we had a lot of time to kill. However, I would not have felt comfortable with only 2 hours. (mainly because of the size of Heathrow, the huge crowds that go with it, and the fact that we always seem to have to change terminals.) If I had been booked all the way through on American, I probably would of risked it.
Thanks, everyone, for your replies. American is playing games right now with their flights and, unfortunately, the flghts going through Dallas/Chicago on to Frankfurt are not available this year for low miles. Of course, right? I think I'll opt for the longer layover. Sometimes passport control lines get long and I hate to take the chance.